The Garden at 485 Elm

At A Glance


Montpelier, Vermont

Primary Issue Area:

  • Food
  • Land & Water
  • Climate Change & Energy
  • Environmental Health

Active since:


Grants Received In:

  • 2017
  • 2015

Tax Status:


Core volunteers:


Community Size:


Our Purpose

The Garden at 485 Elm's mission is to increase food security, nutritional health, and community collaboration for residents in Montpelier, Vermont, while improving the health of the land and river where the food grows, diverting food scraps from the waste stream, and reducing the carbon footprint for producing and distributing food. The garden offers local community members access to and support for growing healthy, organic, delicious food to feed themselves and their families, and distributes food to local organizations serving community members in need through Montpelier's free community lunches and other established donation channels. Montpelier is a densely populated, hilly, shaded city where many renters and homeowners lack viable gardening space. The Garden at 485 Elm grows on a flat, sunny expanse of fertile land within walking distance of Vermont's capital city downtown, allowing most participants to walk or bike here. Because the garden is grown collectively, with all gardeners growing all crops together, the garden accommodates widely diverse ages, abilities, and aptitudes for gardening, allowing all to enjoy success with an ambitious array of crops.A primary goal is to promote and serve as a model for community projects on private properties. We aim to inspire other landowners to assess their properties for maximum community interdependence; optimization of their land for environmental preservation and habitat protection; offering service where local populations and natural systems most need it; and reduction of personal and community carbon footprint.

Summary of Projects

In Fall 2017 the Garden at 485 Elm received a Grow grant for composting equipment, signage, construction, and installation as well as for a composting steward to manage the garden’s composting system as part of the Food Scrap Composting at Community Gardens pilot project.

The group received a Grow grant in 2015 for building materials and resources to expand the collaboratively grown garden. The Garden at 485 Elm is a collaboratively grown community garden feeding its gardeners and their families, and donating hundreds of pounds of food and herbs to secondary beneficiaries through Community Harvest of Central Vermont and other established donation distribution channels. Gardeners tend the entire garden instead of plots being assigned to individual people. Collaborative labor promotes greater diversity of crops and higher yields. Many hands working all plots allows everyone, including gardeners of varying ages, physical abilities, and gardening skill, to generate higher, more diverse crop yields and to succeed with more challenging crops, than any one person could grow on his or her own.